January 21, 2009

Back to the UK

NOTE: Catch-up post

One thousand six hundred and fifty five – the number of freckles on Lindsay Lohan's stomach, the amount of times per day Craig thinks about food, and the distance (in kilometers) we travelled in two days to get from Cesky Krumlov to the UK.

Like bats outta hell we drove across four countries (five if you count the UK), praying we would get back to England incident and accident free. 

God musta been on his lunch break, cause just a few hundred meters after we crossed the border from the Czech Republic into Germany, we drove past a German police car parked on the side of the freeway. We'd seen lots of the green and white patrol cars on the super-fast German highways, and we'd shat ourselves every single time – we'd heard plenty of stories about the German police screwing over foreign motorists for teeny misdemeanours such as not having 3cm of tyre tread. So when this particular cop car started tailing us, and then proceeded to pull us over, you can imagine we were pretty freaked out.

Surly and authoritative – just the way I like my police! We scrambled around frantically when they requested our passports and registration papers, jumped out and eagerly unlocked the van doors when they asked, ripped out the entire contents of our backpacks so they could see there was no drugs or weapons inside, and stood there patiently while they searched our van and ran passport checks on us.

Eventually, they let us go – fine and jail-term free. But the whole event just confirmed we were doing the right thing by abandoning the van trip.

Other than a stop overnight in Frankfurt and some seriously painful traffic jams on the German motorways, the rest of the journey was pretty uneventful – the Big Guy Upstairs musta finished his Chicko roll and choccy Moove.

The relief we felt when we hit the road in the UK was akin to that felt by the entire world when George Bush handed over the keys to the White House. We were back to driving on the left side of the road, we could read all the signs, and if anything horrible were to happen (like a ball joint breaking and careering off into a ditch), we'd be able to communicate to passers-by and mechanics alike. 

But it wasn't all fun and games. We had planned to live in a caravan park just outside London until we sold the van. But when we arrived at the camping ground in Chertsey, we realised that not only were we in an absolute hole about 50 kilometers outside of London, we were also paying £15 a night for the privilege of staying there.

This was not on. So after a few frantic phone calls to my London-based pal Jackie, we arranged to stay at her place in Clapham for a 'couple of weeks', until we found jobs and our own place to stay. Our London experience was about to begin....

Down on our luck and dossing on an friend's couch – doesn't get more Aussie-in-London stereotypical than that!